Friday, January 29, 2016

River Progress

I sure did have fun adding a dab of glue to each little scrap that I used for the water. It was like creating a collage! I used smaller fabric pieces for the water at the horizon line and larger pieces in the foreground. The white fabric represents faster moving water.

Once I covered the stabilizer with the little snippets, I planned to cover it with tulle and then stitch through all the layers to anchor those pieces. 

I tried blue, grey, white tulle. 

 This is the grey. The white is in the middle of the photo above.

This is the blue. I just "knew" the blue was going to be "IT!" Unfortunately, I felt that the tulle mushed the fabrics and I lost the depth of the water. I decided tulle would be for another project!

So, how would I hold the pieces in place? I decided I would free motion around the fabric edges.

It was a little tricky to complete this task! In the end it was worth the work. I like the depth the small pieces provide. I used mono filament thread by YLI to complete this task.  

I like the texture that is created when the pieces aren't covered with the tulle. Maybe next week, I'll figure out how the water is going to fit into the quilt!

Isn't it interesting that I thought I was going to make a water fall and it turns out I use that thought to make a river instead? My quilting journeys are generally full of lots of "off road" opportunities! :)

On another note, I did finish the January step to the online mystery that I'm participating in. These were the fabrics I used to stitch 24 log cabin blocks.

This is what two of the 12 pairs look like. I got a late start on this project. (I didn't start in September; I started after Christmas!) I joked that with the online group that I was in the neighborhood at the beginning of January because I was working on the clue for that month. Well, I'm next door now! I blogged about it here. Being caught up feels great!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Inspiration Came Via Feet and Stitches

This month, I took a two day workshop at my local quilt shop and Bernina dealer, Quilting Delights. The class focused on decorative machine stitches one day and how machine feet can help you create magic with texture. I have a Bernina 780 machine that can stitch many decorative stitches. Have I used the stitches? Not often. I did stitch this:

I talked about it here.
This was what we worked on in class. We appliqued a flower with a variety of decorative stitches. It was fun to create! I like classes that are technique rather than project based. It is freeing knowing that I'm not working on something that it is SUPPOSED to be something! 

The teacher encouraged each of us to complete a stitch book. A stitch book is simply stitching a segment of each stitch in the machine and labeling that stitch. Carol Ann Waugh is a stitch artist and has done her stitch book with a twist. She sews a few repeats of the stitch. Then, she stitches a few repeats with a shorter stitch and last a few repeats with a longer stitch. 

This is how I organized my book. I had started a stitch book and had completed many pages. Class inspired me to finish this tool. I only had two pages left of stitches so it wasn't a long or terrible task! It is officially my first 2016 Finish Along!! I can't tell you why I became side tracked and didn't finish it long ago! I'm excited though because it is going to be a great resource tool for me!

Now, I have an artsy cover for my stitch book!

On day two, we stitched this felt bag. We used a variety of feet to stitch cording/ribbon/pearls. 

We even did a little felting with wool roving. Through this experience,  I discovered at least one new friend to add to my inner circle of favorite feet!   

I'm considering stitching a little larger sampler project so I can play with the stitches and play with different feet.

The point is, I've been stitching. I've been trying to create and along the way, I forgot to take some time for an artist's date. An artist's date for me, could mean: taking a class, looking at art, trying a new technique or just playing. I was working and forgetting about play!

Do you schedule artist's dates for yourself?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Block of the Month updates

This year, I'm working on three Block of the Month (BOM) projects; I have three BOM to finish and one from last year I chose fabric; but never started!

First, the mystery hexagon BOM update:
These are the blocks for 
Spiders! I think the legs are especially cool. 

The legs are stitched with a coral stitch. Mary Corbet from Needle and Thread has a how to tutorial here. By the way, she has a wonderful blog!

A pumpkin!

and December: 
A Christmas Tree! I have the embroidery left to do for hangers and to place a star on the top--well, actually, it is a diamond! But, I'm making progress!

Next step is to set this row and add to the 
existing top that I blogged about here. I had thought that I would be able to quilt this in time for our guild's quilt show; but, I'm not sure about that now! I may feel differently once it is basted.

Second, is my Cheryl Walker chickens project. I have stitched the blocks together and now need to get back to the applique. This one has been hanging around for many years!

Third, is the guild's mystery BOM. I chose these fabrics. The first month, we did cutting and sewed stratas together. The second month, we made a bunch of flying geese. This month, we cut the strata into segments and made six nine patch blocks. I'm on pace with this BOM!

Fourth, is the online mystery BOM. This started in September and I stalled on fabric choice. After Christmas, I started with these fabrics. I was concerned that the third and fourth fabrics from the left were too close in value. But, I went with it.

It is a medallion style quilt. I haven't made one of those before. What is cool is that you get glimpses of what the quilt is going to be. And, I suppose that I could stop along the way and not finish each step if I found that I liked one step in particular!

The reasons why I tackle BOMs are:
that often I am forced to try different color ways, 
I learn a different technique, 
I make a pattern I may not have chosen on my own, 
I meet other quilters,
and am inspired by their fabrics and insight to the pattern directions!

I stitched the pieced border which is a square within a square. However, the fabrics are too low in contrast to be able to see it. As I pieced, I told myself, I'm making a low contrast quilt. . .it's a first, it's okay. . .well, I finished making it and it WASN'T okay.

So, I tried different fabrics and then I tried a different combination of fabrics. Then I decided I would go with the green inner square.

I'm going to run out of fabric which means, I will get to make a different choice later. I like being able to see the pattern. The original border will be part of a pieced back.

I did manage to finish the December clue and like how it looks!

The fifth BOM is this one from Tulla Pink that I finished piecing fall of 2013 and just KNEW I'd be quilting it this fall. Hmm m m, quilting inspiration hasn't hit yet!

Oh, there is a sixth mystery BOM that I purchased the fabric for, collected the clues for; but, didn't even cut one fabric! Maybe I'll get to that one next year! I didn't realize how many BOMs I had going until this post. I suppose that I had better work on FINISHING some!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Working on Becoming UNStuck

Last Fall, our book club read the book, "Sweetness to the Soul," by Jane Kirkpatrick. Right away, I had an idea for a project.

I had planned for the quilt to be wide and narrow with a waterfall, bridge and a hotel like building.

I started with some sketches for the hotel. At this point, I selected some leftover strings/strips and stitched the body of the building. I later appliqued a section to be the front entrance and selected a scrap for the roof. I was feeling good about my progress and process.

I sketched a bridge and a waterfall. I wasn't getting any where. I started doubting my abilities. The more I doubted my success, the less progress I made.

I googled Shear's Hotel and Toll Bridge and found a few photos. The design I had in my head was far from what I saw in the photos. As a ten year old, I fished below the falls with my granddad. A fire destroyed the hotel in 1938 so the hotel was long gone before I fished there. I sketched some more. 

In November, I took the design off the wall. I stitched other projects. A month later, I tried again. It was deja vu. I altered the composition. I tried placing other fabrics on the design wall. Still, I wasn't making progress.

I sketched some more. I wasn't having fun.

I decided, I would construct the waterfall. This was my first attempt. I wanted my waterfall to come between two canyon walls and just below the horizon. While I liked the variety of strips I used, the strips were too rigid. Adding the white sections helped; but, this wasn't "IT."

I wanted to create texture so I added some metallic ribbon and used yarn with the Bernina 43 foot to create some "foam." I loved stitching with the 43 foot and at some point, I need to make something to use that foot. But, it wasn't right for this project.

This was my second attempt:

I like the values and the movement. I cut the pieces, used Elmer's glue to place them. I added a little Angelina fibers under some white tulle. I stitched through all the layers with silk, cotton and metallic thread to hold the pieces in place. This was a fun process! My plan was to anchor the fabric edges during the quilting phase. I'm letting it set for a day or two because I'm thinking it is too small for my piece. 

There is something to drawing the plan out to scale first as had I done that, I would have figured out, my waterfall was too small!

Hm mm. . .what options do I have now?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Goal Setting for 2016

It's a new year. It's a fresh start. It's time to make plans for finishing projects!

Last February, I set some goals. In May and June, I planned how long it would take to finish some projects. By September, my plans were totally derailed! 
I tried too hard to stay on my plan and when I stalled, I was unable to jump start myself again. This year, my goals are listed in bold below.

Choose a word and use it to help me meet my goals.
This is the third year I've chosen a word. This year, I'll see it in the studio every day and I've written it on the front of my journal to help me stay on track.
My previous years' words were:
This year, I'm going to focus my energy; write more realistic work plans and then meet those deadlines! 

Finish these on going projects:
President's blocks, 
butterfly quilt, 


Three past book club projects:

and chickens. 

I also want to finish my stitch book.

I want to buy an accuquilt die and make a project with it. I'm considering this die

I have many more On Going Projects. Rather than list all of them, I'm choosing to focus on these six. I have more success when I post my plans. Perhaps, if I possessed better project planning skills, I would have better success with project management! I do plan to set a work schedule; but, this year, my plan is to set smaller intermediate goals. If I encounter a stall, my plan is to work a little on the stall each day until I'm unstuck. I also plan to work on another project so that I end the day with forward progress. . .somewhere in my quilting world!

Continue to make progress on my current projects.

Start new projects.

Sew another 50 yards from my stash. 

Try new to me techniques like paints, crayons and color pencils on fabrics.

Participate in the 6x60 guild challenge.

Enter four quilts in our guild's quilt show.

Sew projects with the grands.

Have FUN!

Pat Sloan blogged about UnFinished Object (UFO) busting. You can read her blog here. I liked that she starts new projects guilt free. I appreciated how she used a quilting type planner to set goals for herself. 

Now that I have set these ten goals, my next step is to complete a work plan with wiggle room for success! 

Do you set annual goals for yourself? Do you choose a word for the year? If so, please share one of your goals in the comments. Remember, I LOVE receiving comments!

Happy New Year!!!

PS Thanks dear daughter for reading every one of my blog posts!